Posts Tagged ‘ESRI’

Port of San Diego Featured in ArcUser (Winter 2010)

January 27, 2010

ArcUser is the trade magazine for ESRI software users. Malcolm and I first met with the author, Karen Richardson, during the last user conference. We are very excited ESRI chose to feature our work here at the Port of San Diego. Below is the link to the article.

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The Future of GIS Collaboration in Government

September 22, 2009

At a past division meeting our newly appointed President/CEO, Charlie Wurster, talked candidly and took questions about his past experiences. He also shared why he is excited to be at the Port of San Diego and expressed his management philosophy and guiding principals. At one point during this informal meeting, Mr. Wurster explained that we have to work closely with our tenants and 5 member cities. He went on to use the following example: if we were to be working with an adjacent government agency to build a new railroad, we would want the tracks to meet properly. Then he held up his hands like two like 2 guns point toward each other and explained that it takes collaboration, clear communication, and experience to accomplish our goals; we need to work closely within our organization and with companies, groups and interests in our region.


GIS will undoubtedly play a role in this type of effort, not only in support of our Engineers, CAD Designers, Construction Inspectors, Landuse Planners and the myriad of other in-house professionals at the Port of San Diego, but also as a means to share geographic information as a business process.

We are currently implementing this approach within the port through the PortGIS Program. Our CAD designers are responsible to create, update, and manage our utilities data. This data is then shared, as a service, through GIS based websites and across the enterprise to General Services, Real Estate, Harbor Police, Marine Operations and any other Port Employee who depends on this data. Our CAD Designers are the “owners” of the utilities data. In turn, we are working with our Land Use Planning Department to collect data to share it across the enterprise in the same fashion.

Sharing GIS data in this way is a fairly new concept, but it has been embraced with enthusiasm at many federal and state agencies. Below is a video of Jack Dangermond’s recent presentation at the Gov 2.0 Summit about how this integration will streamline the way we use, view, and share GIS data. He outlines a vision of how “owners” of data can share data between agencies. As the purveyors of spatial data, whether it be lease information such as renewal dates, police dispatch data, pollution numbers and statistics, it is important we embrace this vision as we work within our organization and interact with outside entities.

According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Enterprise Architecture framework, 74 percent of government data is location based. At the state and local level the number is even higher – 80 percent – according to several organizations and publications.

Our region is a complex amalgamation of overlapping and intersecting interests. Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), California Coastal Commission and CalTrans each manage infrastructure and services. Local regulated utilities like San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) and Cox Communications have business interests and easements. Both the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego County Airport Authority (SDCAA) manage tenants independently of the Port and are both undergoing their own respective land use planning efforts. Our 5 neighboring cities and the county manage parcel boundaries and tax information. And with a population of 1.3 million people, the City of San Diego manages a myriad of services, with which we work closely on a daily basis.

As GIS data services flow down from the federal and state government we will also embrace GIS Services as a method to share and collaborate. As governmental agencies, we each have a stake in managing our geographic interests in the most cost efficient and effective means possible. At the Port of San Diego we should begin with the end in mind. We should work towards Mr. Wurster’s goal of full integration so our geographic data flows seamlessly through GIS services, both between departments at the Port of San Diego and between the Port and the wide variety of agencies which effect our workflow.

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Port of San Diego Presenting at the 2009 ESRI User Conference

June 16, 2009

Malcolm Meikle and I have been offered the opportunity to present at the 2009 ESRI Users Conference. We will present our paper, “Creating an Enterprise GIS at the Unified Port of San Diego” alongside Fei Wang of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Dulles and Reagan Airports in the Washington D.C. Area. Below is a link to the session details.

The focus of our presentation will be the technical details associated with implementing the PortGIS program. Here at %scratchworkspace%, we would like to further elaborate on the philosophy and concepts which drive the PortGIS program.

“How … can port managers and engineers best identify and prioritize projects among competing demands? We believe the key to successful port engineering is the integration of vital infrastructure information in a robust and functioning Geographic Information Sytstem (GIS). Regardless of the type of port facilities, similar basic facilities data is maintained, often in hard copy format only. Property surveys, facility base maps, soil-boring data, building plans and facility as-built drawings are fairly common types of records maintained by port engineers. All of such data can be reference and tied together using a spatial context – thus creating a geographic port data framework.

Applying an integrated GIS to a port offers facility management professionals the opportunity to catalog this disparate information using established standard and data conventions. The cataloged data can then be managed according to parameters set by the users to provide better integration of information and yield better decision support products. Information is no longer fragmented or isolated, and multiple data types and scales start providing critical and usable correlations to support both short-range and long-term decision making processes.”

From the book: Application of GIS Technologies in Port Facilities and Operations Management
Neal T. Wright and Jaewan Yoon
American Society of Civil Engineers
Ports and Harbors Committee

By using geography/place/location as the common factor it will allow us to bring together data that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to integrate. These tools have been available for a long time through proprietary, expensive and hard-to-learn GIS software. The ubiquitous nature of the internet and the web browser has given us the platform to share this data across the enterprise, touching every Port employee and every Port computer through a wide variety of clients, including ArcGIS Software, ArcGIS for AutoCAD, Mobile Devices or a plain-vanilla web browser.

The Dewy-Decimal System and our Port Geographic Information System (PortGIS) are used to answer questions, or in computer lingo-make a “request”. “Where are Vietnamese Cooking books?” is analogous to; “Show me the aerial photo for Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal?” The server works on the question and sends a “response”, or answer to our question. In our example the answer is the image which renders on your screen.

Our goal is to assist in streamlining the workflow at the Port of San Diego by identifying the tasks/questions/requests which are most advantageous to approach from a geographic perspective. By customizing the GIS interface we intend to empower all Port employees to independently accomplish substantial and consequential geography-based work.

Managing and Expanding an Enterprise GIS Session at the 2009 ESRI User Conference Details

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How to install the PortGIS

October 7, 2008

Port Employees- Please do not follow these directions unless directed by IT staff.

We want this post to be the place where Port employees can learn about installing the Port GIS on their computers. Please send me an email if something is not clear or if you are having problems. When we officially deploy this software throughout the Port we will push it to you via an installer.

The directions to download, install and point to the PortGIS are written below. We have also included a video. The written directions assume that you have 1) at least 1gb of RAM and 2) the Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework installed. If you have a fairly new computer both these requirements are probably met. If you need more RAM please contact MR.

Directions to install the PortGIS on your machine
1)    Download AGX from here (or by searching “ArcGIS Explorer”)
2)    Install AGX, accepting all the defaults

3)    Open AGX (start>All Programs>ArcGIS>ArcGIS Explorer)
4)    File>Set Home Server>Set Home Server Located At> Type in the path cooresponding to “BETA” (see Docs #315612).
5)    Click OK to restart AGX as PortGIS

How a few hours can turn into a week

October 6, 2008

The primary goal of this blog is to work with Port of San Diego employees to develop an easy to use GIS which will help them work more productively. Most GIS blogs are commentary on the GIS industry. I’d like to apologize to Port employees who wanted to start using the PortGIS, but haven’t gotten a chance. Changing operating systems/webserver platforms from WS2003/IIS5.2 to WS2008/IIS7 has created larger problems than we anticipated. Unfortunately, “a few hours” have turned into more than a week. However, I am happy to say that we are now up and running. If you are interested in the technical reasons please keep reading. If not, please check back in for future posts. The next post will include clear directions and a video to explain how to install the PortGIS.

We have had two major problems with the upgrade.

1) The AGX Home Server Files (AGXHSF) don’t work in IIS7 as they do in IIS6. I am not exactly sure of the reason, but it definitely has to do with the web.config file. ESRI’s lists “Internet Information Services (IIS) – required for the ArcGIS Explorer Home Setup” on ArcGIS Explorer Home Requirements section of their ArcGIS Explorer 500 System Requirements page. ESRI doesn’t refer to any version of IIS. ESRI support pointed out that ArcGIS Server is supported but the AGXHSF are not. ESRI is going to update their documentation to reflect this. Our workaround is to have the AGXHSF on WS2003 machine and our map services coming from the WS2008 machine. We would really like to have it all on one server.

2) We also have not figured out how to connect the WS2008 machine to our Novell domain. In addition to the project most discussed on this blog, we have non-ESRI GIS webapps using Apache Tomcat. These services work fine on the server machine, but cannot be deployed to users. Coworkers much more adept at dealing with this type of issue are working on this.

I will give ESRI the benefit of the doubt for 3 reasons. First because the AGS map services scream (79546 Kbps), second other software vendors have had similar issues, and third because this is a new product. The WS2008/IIS7 platform is the way of the future. I believe in the AGX + AGS combination to bring customized GIS capabilities into the regular workflow of organizations, such as the Port of San Diego. I don’t see any reason why they can’t run on the same machine. I hope ESRI can solve, or publish a workaround, for this issue with the next build of AGX.